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The Ministry plans to adopt an ecosystem approach to facilitate ICT stakeholders to recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the minister of transport and communication Minister Thulagano Segokgo. He was speaking during commemoration of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day in Gaborone on the 17th of May. The theme for WTISD in 2021 was “Transformation in challenging times.

He w said the nation should be striving to integrate ICT in ‘our lives.’ “We join hands with others from across the government private sector and each and every Motswana to play their active role in advocating for the effective use of ICTs in socio-economic activities, the commemoration helps us to check how ICT is influencing our lives.” he said.

This approach called for the pooling of resources and collaborative efforts to achieve the national policy targets we have set ourselves, he said.

Among the achievements the minister mentioned include continuing extension of broadband connectivity to villages, provision of public services online and use of collaborative technologies. This year, the government successfully hosted parliamentary proceedings online for the first time.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that had had disastrous consequences on people’s lives, it had renewed Botswana’s impetus to use digital technology for socio-economic activities.

The ICT sector had worked collectively to facilitate Batswana’s transition to the new normal, responded well to the burgeoning demand for connectivity and provided all the technical tools needed to work, socialize and transact business remotely.

“We maintained a constant dialogue with all stakeholders to ensure our network infrastructures performed to an acceptable quality and availability standard,” he said adding that reconstituted service packages and tariffs had been reviewed.

He said this year theme, ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation in challenging times,’ resonated with government ambitions to move all public services online and automate public administration.

“It requires us to urgently provide our people with affordable and user-friendly applications and systems that allow them to work, do business, govern each other, and socialize remotely,” he said. 

Government, he said would ensure that Botswana took its rightful place in the emerging global information society and flourished economically in the current era of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) through developing ICTs policies and strategies that complemented and built upon Vision 2036.

Still on the same, the ministry’s ICT policy director Cecil Masiga said this year’s theme was an universal call for all ICT stakeholders to fast track their digital transformation agenda.  For digital transformation to bear fruit, all stakeholders required a new cultural and constantly challenging the status quo, experimenting and learning from mistakes in order to improve service delivery.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) has been celebrated annually every 17 May since 1969 to mark the founding of ITU and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865.

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